Budgeting Tips to Make Giving Gifts Affordable

Gift giving can be a real budget-buster if you don't plan accordingly. It can also be expensive, especially when you consider work-related events, the holidays, and special occasions. 

Make shopping for gifts much easier by developing a solid strategy. But the most important thing you can do is to develop a gift-giving budget and set money aside each month for that fund. Learn our tips on how to set a budget for gift-giving.

Planning Your Gift Giving Budget

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When planning your gift-giving budget, it's important not to just pick an arbitrary number. You should take into account birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays such as Christmas.

Once you determine your budget, add 15% to that amount so you'll be covered when those unexpected gifts come up over the course of the year. Divide that number by 12 and that's the amount you'll need to set aside for your gift-giving budget each month.

Stretching Your Gifts Budget

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If you'd like to give a gift that doesn't fit into your budget, you may consider going in on a gift with friends or co-workers. This strategy is especially helpful for events like baby showers since many baby items can be pricey. 

Shopping big sales like the Black Friday sales, or purchasing gifts offseason can also help stretch your budget. Taking on a holiday job can also provide extra funds for your gift-giving budget. 

Budgeting for Gifts at the Office

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Office giving varies from office to office. You may have an office where you contribute a monthly amount to the birthday pool or an office where you are assigned a month to be in charge of birthdays.

It gets even trickier when it comes to holiday gift giving in the office. Again, the office sets the tone of what you are expected to give. When you start a new job, you may need to adjust your budget to meet the obligations of your office.

Budgeting for Wedding Gifts

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Weddings are another occasion when a gift is expected. You may be wondering how much you should spend and what you should give. A good rule of thumb is to give a gift that's equivalent to the price per head for attendees of the wedding, which varies but is usually around $100. 

If you are invited to a wedding shower or bachelor or bachelorette party, then you may need to increase your gift budget for this event, as a gift is also expected at these events. 

Budgeting for Christmas Gifts

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The best way to budget for Christmas is to look at how much you spent for the last year and divide that number by twelve. If you save that amount each month, you can cover your Christmas gifts without too much stress.

But don't forget to utilize strategies to save on Christmas gifts. Think: shopping the sales and purchasing gifts before the holiday season even begins. A Christmas savings account is another way to make saving for holiday gifts easier. 

Budgeting for Gifts for Special Occasions

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You may have to give gifts for a special occasion or celebration. For example, christenings, baptisms, and bar mitzvahs are common venues for gift-giving.

But it can be difficult to know what to give and how much. Generally, the amount you spend will vary. But be sure to give an age-appropriate gift to young children, and perhaps switch to a cash gift for older children and teenagers. 

Budgeting for Birthdays

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Birthdays can also be a big-ticket spend for your gift-giving budget, depending on the size of your extended family and their expectations. You may also have to juggle the gifts for your close friends.

It is important that you carefully consider how much you can afford, even if there are expectations of giving a certain amount within your friends or family. Sticking to your budget is more important. 

Don't Forget Unexpected Gifts

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It is important to err on the side of over-budgeting funds when it comes to gift-giving. That's because there will also be an unexpected event that you will need to buy a gift for. 

In addition to budgeting an extra 15% on top of your existing budget, it also makes sense to have a few small gifts on hand for those unexpected events. Keep a nice bottle of wine, a few unisex children's toys, and even a few nice candles of small houseware items for those times.

And the next time you're invited to an unexpected party, you can show up, gift in hand, and have fun knowing that you didn't bust your budget in the process. 

Updated by Rachel Morgan Cautero.